How To

How do I … Take a Great Photo of a Car


With the warmer weather, and pandemic restrictions being lifted, more car enthusiast will soon be hitting the streets with their modern vehicles, classic drives or amazing hotrods. Wanting to take a few photos of these rides is natural, so here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that picture looks as amazing as it did in real life.

Standing too close and using a wide-angle lens distorts the image and makes the vehicle appear disproportionate, so you won’t capture those stylish lines that grabbed your attention in the first place.  Step back as far as you can from the vehicle so that you don’t have to use any wide-angle lens or setting on your phone at all.

Get used to using the flash, even in broad daylight. A good trick is to stand so the is sun behind the vehicle, and you are located on the shaded side. Cars painted a dark colour usually require a flash from any angle you chose to photograph them, even on bright days. If you can’t position yourself so the sun is where you want it to be, you may need to wait until later in the day, when the sun is lower in the sky, to take the photo.

While you may be tempted to snap the picture while standing and with your camera at your eye level, it is recommended you lower your camera to about waist height for a better perspective. Alternatively, you can also crouch or kneel down so your eye-level is lower.

You also want to fill the photo field with the vehicle. Having the car or truck fill the frame, with little of the background showing, will make for a better picture. Remember, it’s the car that you want to see, not the parking lot or space it is in. Likewise, if you are at an auto event or a meet, you will want to wait until the crowds thin, likely later in the day, so there are fewer people. This will give you more space to get some shots but also, because the sun will be lower in the sky, the light will be warmer.

Last, if there’s a picture you want and can’t get, speak to the owner of the vehicle. There are probably very proud of their vehicle and may have no issue opening a door so you can photograph the interior, lifting the hood so you can also get a snap of the engine, or even lower the roof if it is a convertible.

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